The term “grail” used to mean the object of a worthwhile pursuit, often of excellence, rarity or spiritual significance.
The first reference to the Holy Grail itself comes from French poet Chrétien de Troyes. Later, Robert de Boron raised awareness of the spiritual significance of the Grail in his poem Joseph d’Armimathie.
For firearm enthusiasts, the term has now come to mean “the most sought-after object to a certain collector.”
I read of a respectable gun company that created a high-end 1911 they announced was a two of a kind, only two would ever be made, and it was the grail gun of its type. I disagree.
I think the term should mean something that is sought after, not created for the purpose, and which is attainable by many, if not all, of us.
In the sense of this feature, the guns are all available at prices from modest to affordable. I am a shooter. I don’t have anything too nice to shoot.
The guns illustrated have been attained at some expense, often enough when I needed a good gun but really could not afford it.
The following guns are my five grail guns. Perhaps you have yours as well.
1. SIG Sauer GSR Revolution 1911
SIG’s original GSR was manufactured with a Caspian slide and frame and later, SIG built their own slides and frames.
The original was a combination of some of the best aftermarket parts in the world. Not all of them were reliable, but the good ones were very good and SIG soon got them straightened out.
The pistols are named for the Granite State, New Hampshire, SIG’s base of operations. The area around New Hampshire is a land rich in legend.
The Devil and Daniel Webster is among these. The great statesman and orator Webster is said to have won a court case against the Devil.
Having long admired his writings, I can see it. He stated plainly that two New Hampshire men were a match for the Devil.
His catchphrase was ‘How Stands The Union.’ My two SIG 1911s are named Constellation and Constitution, another piece of Webster lore you should get.
If not, I will explain later in the comment section. The pistols, a Carry Stainless and an Officer’s Model, have been exceptionally accurate and reliable.
They are hard-working guns and good companions. As for finding a used one for sale, it is a rarity, but both of these pistols were obtained used at a good price.
2. Colt Python
I owned Pythons in my youth and I suppose I didn’t appreciate them enough. Other times, the price offered was tempting and finally, I could not afford a Python for a while.
Today, I own both a 1977 Colt and a new stainless Python. If your grail gun has been the Colt Python, now is a good time for you. The new gun is the better gun.
If you need a handgun, you may master to the point of cleanly taking varmints well past 100 yards, winning a match against custom-grade revolvers, or taking deer-size game to at least 50 yards, the Python is the gun for you.
3. High-Capacity .45s
While I have been happy with the 1911, there have been times when I have thought a high-capacity .45 might be a good thing.
The GLOCK 21 is as reliable as any handgun, but the grip frame is just too large for my hands.
The SIG P227 is a good pistol but I couldn’t get the hang of it, and magazines could not be obtained at any price at the time I owned it.
Eight well-delivered shots are far better than 12 or 13 fired from a pistol you cannot really control. But there are good high-capacity .45s that actually fit my hand well.
I have been able to find a reliable and accurate Para Ordnance P14 1911. While some Para pistols were labeled unreliable, I think it was mostly the parts guns.
This P14 is a great shooter. However, the big news is a pistol I have tested and found excellent.
The SAR K2C (compact) is a double-action first-shot pistol based on the CZ 75. SAR went with a SIG-type lockup instead of CZ locking lugs, allowing the pistol to be more compact.
The technical sophistication of this Turkish-made pistol is satisfying and the performance gratifying. This gun has punch and polish.
After a long search for a suitable high-capacity .45 ACP pistol, I have a formidable handgun.
When matched against anything else I have tested in this category, the K2C comes out ahead by a considerable margin.
4. Colt Government Model
The Colt is the 1911 you should have for your first 1911. They are not the cheapest guns, but neither are they the most expensive.
They will not disappoint as a cheap gun may and when you have mastered the Colt, then, and only then, will you need a high-end or custom pistol.
An overlooked component of the Colt’s legend, and effectiveness, is that they have been prized by outdoorsmen for defense against dangerous animals for more than 100 years.
One of the original design demands by the U.S. Army was that the pistol be effective against Jaguar.
Uncle Sid, scores of explorers, Lawrence of Arabia, Frank Hamer, Frank Luke and Charles Winstead carried the 1911 and trusted it.
When it is you or the beast, the Colt is good to have. Or as one soldier said, if you need to knock at Hell’s Gates and then find the Devil to double-tap him, the Colt is the gun for the job.
When the U.S. Marines found and killed the bandit-leader Charlemagne, they did just that! The Colt is worth every penny and is more affordable than ever.
When my good friend Trevor was fighting the Terrs in Africa, he paid a solid month’s pay for the Colt and never regretted the sacrifice.
5. SIG Sauer P210
I wanted a SIG P210 for myself for decades. I tested a pistol for publication, but had not personally owned a P210. I don’t own a Rolex and they are comparable totems.
When SIG introduced their American-made P210 9mm, I obtained one as soon as possible. The new SIG features a SIG P-series type lockup, rather than the original locking lugs.
The safety is much improved and the trigger comparable. The P210 is a great shooter. I am more than pleased with this pistol. I cannot imagine a more accurate and reliable 9mm Luger pistol.
Conclusion: Grail Guns
These “Grail Guns” are first-class handguns well worth their price.
Some may take a little effort to obtain and some are more expensive than others, but each offers a ton of pride of ownership.
Best of all, they are shooters made for folks that use their guns as intended. We shoot them a lot.
What are some of your “Grail Guns?” Why? Let us know in the comments section below!